The Economics of Sainthood

Want to be canonized as a saint? Then you should probably move to Italy: 46.7 percent of saints lived in that country at the time of their deaths. That is just one of the many interesting tidbits to be gleaned from a 2010 paper by Barro, McCleary, and McQuoid titled, The Economics of Sainthood (a preliminary investigation): Saint-making has been a major activity of the Catholic Church for centuries. Continue Reading...

BBC: Should Religious Leaders Live a Modest Life?

Image Credit: BBC I had the opportunity today to take part in a discussion on the BBC program World Have Your Say, discussing the recent suspension by the Vatican of the Bishop of Limbu, Germany, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van-Elst, known in the German press as the “bishop of bling.” He is under investigation regarding expenditures of 31 million euros (roughly $41 million) for the renovation of the historic building that served, in part, as his residence. Continue Reading...

Letter from Rome: What Kind of Liberal is Pope Francis?

Kishore Jayabalan, Director of Istituto Acton in Rome, has issued his October letter. In it, he discusses the idea of Pope Francis as a “liberal,” especially in light of the pope’s recent interview in America magazine: Much of the controversy over the Pope’s interview reminds me of several Gospel passages, where Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for healing people on the Sabbath, dining with sinners, not condemning the adulteress, and so on, and especially of the parable of the prodigal son and the elder brother who’s upset that his father never threw a feast for him. Continue Reading...

Is Pope Francis Welcoming Liberation Theology Into The Vatican?

With a bit of breathless excitement (“a progressive theological current“), there is news in Rome that Pope Francis is welcoming liberation theology back into the Vatican. On Sunday, Sept. 8, the Vatican announced a meeting between the pope and Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Continue Reading...

Pope Francis and the Catholic Way of Dialogue

In Crisis Magazine, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg discusses how Pope Francis and the Catholic Church engage other religions and philosophies: “Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.” That, according to Pope Francis, is the response he gives when leaders ask him for advice about how to resolve their societies’ internal differences. Continue Reading...